Charges to get rid of rats could soar by nearly 100 per cent in just a year under a proposed council plan.
For 2020-21, the charge levied for mice and rodent problems was £86.80 in residential properties. For 2021-22, the charge could be £168.60, a 94 per cent increase.
The price for bedbugs, moths and fleas could also jump by 44 per cent, to £187.30.
Opposition Liberal Democrat councillor Victor Chamberlain slammed the move, saying it was in effect a ‘rat tax’ on low income residents.
“I’m deeply concerned the Council’s new charges could force people to live with pest and vermin infestations,” he said.
“This could have serious knock on effects on residents’ health and wellbeing. Having to call out pest control is a nightmare at any time, but especially so during a pandemic when we are stuck at home.
“Doubling the cost of call outs will disproportionately harm those on low and limited incomes who may not be able to afford to do so now.”
Council documents outlining the proposal state the new prices would still be competitive.
“A benchmarking exercise with local pest control service providers and neighbouring boroughs with similar characteristics and demographics to Southwark, shows that these new prices remain extremely competitive,” it states.
The proposed increases are set to be discussed by cabinet next week as part of the council budget, and will then be sent to full council next month.
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